Lean Construction with or without Lean – Challenges of Implementing Lean Construction

Søren Wandahl1

1Senior Associate Professor (docent), Department of Engineering, Aarhus University, Dalgas Avenue 2, DK 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark, Phone +45 41 89 32 16, swa@eng.au.dk


Since the introduction of Lean Construction, implementation of Lean Construction method, tools, and thinking has been a challenge. The success of Lean Construction is evident, but still implementation challenges emerge, among others, culture, training, leadership, but also partial implementation of Lean Construction. Some reports indicate that the major implementation challenges are related to misconceptualization of lean construction tools, and case studies have found that often Lean Construction was either partially or incorrectly applied. Denmark is one of the pioneer countries in the Lean Construction journey, with the driving force of Sven Bertelsen and MT Højgaard among others. It is considered a country with a widespread and deep implementation of Lean Construction. But how disseminated is Lean Construction in reality? And do those who claim to apply lean construction actually do lean construction? On the basis of these questions this research contributes with a survey with a magnitude of 500 practitioners from the Danish construction industry. Results of this survey are compared with recent IGLC research on implantation challenges of lean construction. This research itself does not put forward any improved guide on how to implement lean construction. Instead it brings light to how lean construction is actually applied. In itself this is very interesting, and is valuable knowledge that can be used in further research on lean construction theory and on implementation of lean in the industry.


Implementation, Last Planner System, Knowledge



Wandahl, S. 2014, 'Lean Construction with or without Lean – Challenges of Implementing Lean Construction' In:, Kalsaas, B.T., Koskela, L. & Saurin, T.A., 22nd Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Oslo, Norway, 25-27 Jun 2014. pp 97-108

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